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"Your car will be watching the road even if you're not"
October 10, 2002 11:15 AM   Subscribe

"Your car will be watching the road even if you're not" Or so says DaimlerChrysler in their new ad campaign. Electronic eyes, infrared systems, ways to keep your eyes on the road better.... All in good time, as we all expected - but wouldn't you be worried if your car could just stop itself if it saw a squirrel in the road? (via the Wall St. Journal ad 10/9/02)
posted by djspicerack (23 comments total)

 
Yeah, cuz I hate squirrels.
posted by Fabulon7 at 11:25 AM on October 10, 2002


"but wouldn't you be worried if your car could just stop itself if it saw a squirrel in the road"

Yes, 'cause as every true Canuck knows, you never swerve or brake for oncoming animals, unless it's something big like a moose or a bear.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:28 AM on October 10, 2002


Give me a car that has the ability to make its own payment, then we're talking.

And I don't want anyone building a car that makes it easier for inattentive drivers to keep driving. If anything, I want cars to be more difficult to drive for people who think they have to talk on the phone, apply lipstick, shave, read, eat, etc. while driving. I'd like to see a car that, instead of watching the road, watched the driver and if it saw the driver doing any of that stuff it would automatically put on its blinker and pull to the side of the road, shut off its engine and start flashing all its lights and honking the horn until the police showed up.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:31 AM on October 10, 2002


We have no deal with the squirrels, only the pigeons!
(Seinfeld reference)
posted by Blake at 11:36 AM on October 10, 2002


crash: A-men, brother.
posted by Fabulon7 at 11:37 AM on October 10, 2002


From the website: The on-board computer interacts with the driver by taking his or her emotional condition and current stress level into account.

Hell, my ex-girlfriend couldn't do that.
posted by gsteff at 11:38 AM on October 10, 2002


I think this would be best abused with hundreds of squirrel shaped robots you could program to dash in front of cars during rush hour. Hopefully you could just confuse all the cars and bring everyone's day to a screeching halt.

Then, phase two begins, and the squirrel-bots storm into the cars, stealing people's wallets.

Phase three, enjoy your new found wealth from your remote island lair. Muahahaha!!!
posted by phidauex at 11:40 AM on October 10, 2002


I don't want anyone building a car that makes it easier for inattentive drivers to keep driving.

Why not? This is the future, man. 21st century! We should not only have cars that drive themselves - we should have flying cars that fly themselves! Where's my jetpack, dammit? Where's my robot housekeeper?

That may sound like sarcasm, but it's not. Think about it; I'm setting off on a road trip next week - San Francisco to Austin - and I'd love to be able to hit the autopilot button and take a nap (or read, or watch a movie, or whatever) through some of the dry stretches. This is assuming, of course, that the technology actually works... Where's my science, man?
posted by majcher at 11:41 AM on October 10, 2002


"I'd love to be able to hit the autopilot button and take a nap (or read, or watch a movie, or whatever) through some of the dry stretches."

majcher, it appears there is a huge difference between your idea of a road trip and mine.

Not that there's anything wrong with that, but if you want to nap, watch a movie, etc., why don't you fly?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:50 AM on October 10, 2002


Heh, reminds of Homer Simpson the trucker.
posted by Plunge at 11:53 AM on October 10, 2002


if you want to nap, watch a movie, etc., why don't you fly?

Sometimes I do. I prefer driving, though - I don't think that our ideas of a "road trip" are actually all that different, although I imagine that the last ten years or so of driving back and forth across the country have worn the novelty a bit for me. My girlfriend hasn't taken this trip before, though, so we're driving - and I'd probably still drive if she wasn't along for the ride.

Don't get me wrong - there's a lot of beautiful landscapes and interesting roadside attractions along the way. There's also mind-numbing stretches of desert and farmland. This is the American Southwest we're talking about here.

Regardless, I'd like to have the choice, if the technology is available. I enjoy driving, and when I was younger, I would go twelve or more hours a day. Now, I wouldn't mind taking a break now and then, without losing time, but still be able to take in the good parts.

Plus, the convenience of having a personal vehicle that affords the same advantages as, say, a trip on a bus or train, seems to be worth it. Get in the car, set your destination, and you're off. No schedule to keep, and your ticket is paid for.

Of course, if you don't like it, I'm sure we can dig up a nice covered wagon and a team of horses for you. Don't forget to send me a postcard from Death Valley.
posted by majcher at 12:04 PM on October 10, 2002


I've always distrusted this "automatic driving technology" thing. I just wish I could find a link to the news story about the old German fellow who followed his car's online navigation system--right off a pier into a lake.
posted by Shane at 12:10 PM on October 10, 2002


"...when I was younger, I would go twelve or more hours a day."

Well, when I was younger I'd go all night, but right now we're talking about driving.

You're right, we probably aren't that far apart in our ideas of what a road trip should be, but I live out here in the middle of those "mind-numbing stretches of desert and farmland" and there's still nothing I enjoy more than a big, powerful car and four or five hundred miles of open highway, even after twenty years of driving these same barren freeways.

However, I'm really not objecting to an automated car for long-distance travel. I'm objecting to making it easier for fuckwits to pay less attention during their daily commutes. Those are the people who need more incentive to watch the road, not a car that makes up for their short attention spans.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:32 PM on October 10, 2002


Carnegie Mellon's Navlab has been doing all sorts of stuff with cars that drive themselves for a pretty long time now.
posted by guyincognito at 1:02 PM on October 10, 2002


Assuming the system works - WHY do they need more incentive to watch the road? Hell, why does anybody need any incentive to do so whatsoever?

Ok, apart from darwinism.

Actually, nevermind, I just answered my own questions.
posted by Ryvar at 1:17 PM on October 10, 2002


I'm objecting to making it easier for fuckwits to pay less attention during their daily commutes.

Hey, I'm all for natural selection taking out cellphone-and-starbucks fuckwits, but I don't see any reason not to use technology to make the road safer for the rest of us. I don't see any moral imperative to let people who don't pay attention to the road to continue driving dangerously. We can still make fun of them for their innumerable other personal faults.

If reliable auto-driving technology was commonly available, how many accidents would be avoided? How many lives would be saved? This is all theoretical, of course, as I don't believe that we're anywhere near ready/able to roll out stuff like this yet, but if and when it comes around, I'm all fer it.
posted by majcher at 1:33 PM on October 10, 2002


Not that there's anything wrong with that, but if you want to nap, watch a movie, etc., why don't you fly?


Well, I'm cheap and I like to be able to get around once I get to my cross country destination, but I don't know about majcher.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 1:37 PM on October 10, 2002


while there will probably be countless lives saved, i feel bad for the auto companies who will get their pants sued off the first time somebody is completely inattentive in their vehicle and there car gets itself in an accident (it's impossible for anything to be perfectly safe afterall). I'm starting to see the television commercials now..."have you been hurt in an accident which was your cars fault..."
posted by NGnerd at 1:45 PM on October 10, 2002



I don't think any auto-driving system would work, unless every car on the road used the same automatic system. Human drivers (the aggressive ones as well as the stupid ones) would probably cause the auto-drive-cars to stop and start all the time. They can program them to obey the rules of the road, but what about when people pull the three-lanes-at once lane change, or jackassess backing up on the highway to go back to an exit? the robot drivers would probably try to self-terminate after a couple hours of traffic, lol...
posted by stifford at 1:53 PM on October 10, 2002


If anything, I want cars to be more difficult to drive for people who think they have to talk on the phone, apply lipstick, shave, read, eat, etc. while driving.

As is popularly suggested in rec.motorcycles: A big friggin' spike right in the middle of the steering wheel. People would sure as hell be a lot more attentive of their driving if they knew death was on the line.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:05 PM on October 10, 2002


Exhibit a:) In congested stretches of freeway, even at high speed, I notice that whenever I leave more than a car-length in front of me, some mush-brain will squeeze right in there.

Exhibit b:) At lunch today I saw some suburbanites in a Lincoln Navigator that had piled into the back of a big, obvious school bus at an intersection.

Likely result of self-braking cars) When cut off by mush-brain in traffic, count on being flattened by the inattentive suburbanites in the non-self-braking SUV behind you.
posted by Tubes at 2:13 PM on October 10, 2002


Since nobody else has said it yet: I like my car as simple as possible. User interface should consist of a comfy leather seat, brake, accelerator, and clutch pedals, shifter, steering wheel, turn signals, headlight and windshield-wiper controls, lots of guages, a radio/tape deck.. and nothing else. ABS is approximately where I place the "more trouble than it's worth" boundary line. No "power windows" for me dammit, let alone automatic squirrel-avoidance systems.
posted by sfenders at 2:50 PM on October 10, 2002


Well maybe now I can quit having those nightmares. Seriously this is one of my reoccurring dreams for 20 years. The car is driving I'm almost at my destination, school. Yet I'm in the back seat trying to get to the driver seat. Why am I in the back seat. Well in the dream I'm trying to get dress for school, panicking the car is driving itself but I'm stuck in my clothes then I'm fighting to get control of the car. The funny thing in the dream I'm about there when I {{{panic}}}. So do nightmares make dreams come true?

They have also talked about the lanes on the freeway that will self drive your vehicle to a predetermined point. You can even sleep or read a book. That was the first clue my nightmare was a solution in life, duh!

But honestly I like my control of things. But for the bus and taxi cab driver, maybe good idea.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:12 PM on October 10, 2002


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